WITH the General Election now looming the main political parties have announced the majority of candidates who will stand for the six constituencies in Cornwall.

Five of Cornwall’s six Conservative MPs will defend their seats, while a new candidate will hope to replace Camborne and Redruth’s George Eustice, who will retire at the next election. However, will it remain a sea of blue in Kernow? A YouGov poll last month suggested only one of our Tory MPs will keep their seat.

Labour, Lib Dems, Green and Reform UK have announced all of their candidates, while Mebyon Kernow, the “party for Cornwall” which leads the campaign for the self-government for Cornwall through the creation of a National Assembly or Parliament, is still debating whether or not to stand candidates in the General Election.

Meet all of the candidates below in their – or their party’s – words:

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North Cornwall

Conservative – Scott Mann

Scott Mann

Scott was first elected in June 2017 and again in December 2019. He is defending the seat and is also standing up for North Cornwall’s essential industries – fishing, farming and tourism – which are vital to its economy through creating jobs, revenue, produce and trade.

During his time as MP, Scott has been a member of the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee, was the vice-chairman of both the Local Democracy and WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), and also sat on the Government’s Life Chances Group to form policy around creating better life chances for people from deprived backgrounds.

Labour – Robyn Harris

Robyn Harris
Robyn Harris (Robyn Harris)

“We need a voice for North Cornwall who can advocate for fishing and farming families, residents, workers, and retirees. After completing my education at Wadebridge School, I pursued art and Illustration at Falmouth University before transitioning into mental health and learning disabilities nursing for the NHS in Bodmin.

“My political involvement started at Wadebridge Town Council and expanded to include participation in the Labour Party and Labour Women’s Network. Over the years, I have received political education and partnered with unions. Advocating for women on the issue of “Violence at work is not part of the job”. Additionally, I harvested cabbages for food banks last year and undertook a fundraising walk in February this year for Refuge.”

Liberal Democrats – Ben Maguire

Ben Maguire
Ben Maguire

Born in Treliske, 32-year-old Ben grew up in Withiel, near Wadebridge, and went to school in Bodmin where his mother was a teacher and his father a GP.

After graduating, Ben worked as a Parliamentary aide and constituency caseworker to former Lib Dem MPs Dan Rogerson and, later, Ian Swales. He also took research placements in the Hong Kong Legislative Council and the United States Senate. More recently, Ben has worked as a solicitor in top international law firms and in the microchip industry.

Reform UK – Rowland O’Connor

Rowland O'Connor
Rowland O'Connor (Rowland O'Connor)

“I am not a politician or, until recently, had any desire to be in politics. However, having observed the complete and unmitigated mess that our various elected representatives and political parties have made of our once beautiful United Kingdom, I felt that I could no longer just sit on the side lines and complain.

“I feel obliged to pay down my debt to this wonderful country and the opportunities and freedom that it has afforded me over many decades when we had a fairer, more equal society where basic human values such as respect, decency and moral integrity meant something.”

Green Party – Lance Symonds

Lance Symonds
Lance Symonds (Lance Symonds)

Lance, 20, is the youngest General Election candidate in Cornwall. Having grown up in council housing in Bude, where he attended Budehaven Community School and Callywith College, Lance understands the challenges facing less privileged communities.

As a student representative, he played a big part in raising awareness and support for the LGBT+ community, including organising Pride events. He was also involved in fundraising for the Intercom Trust, a charity supporting people who struggle with their identity. Lance is currently studying for a degree in law. He is determined that the voices of young people are heard in this election.

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South East Cornwall

Conservative – Sheryll Murray

Benchmark MPs columns
Sheryll Murray (Submitted)

Born and still living in the Cornish village of Millbrook, Sheryll is defending her seat. She is a former secretary of the Looe Fishermen’s Protection Society, director of the Fishermen’s Association Ltd, chairman of a fish producer organisation and secretary of the Plymouth Sea Safety Group.

She has been a member of Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee and a member of the Fishing Industry Safety Group. In Parliament, Sheryll sits on the Panel of Chairs, which is made up of those MPs chosen by the Speaker at the start of each Parliament to chair Public Bill committees and other general committees in the House of Commons.

Labour – Anna Gelderd

Anna Gelderd
Anna Gelderd (Anna Gelderd)

Anna lives on the Rame Peninsula and is currently a senior adviser at a leading conservation charity. She has spent her career helping others and has worked for some of Britain’s leading charities including the RNLI.

She said: “Sadly our beautiful part of the world has been forgotten by Westminster. If elected as your MP, I will work with the next Labour Government to help people here struggling with the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis, protect our local environment, reduce our NHS waiting times and help our communities take advantage of the brilliant new opportunities for jobs and growth in industries such as clean energy.”

Liberal Democrats – Colin Martin

Colin Martin
Colin Martin (Colin Martin)

Colin has worked in Cornwall for over 18 years, firstly in the office of the late local Liberal Democrat MP Colin Breed, then for a range of local charities and social enterprises. In 2013, Colin trained as a teacher and has specialised in supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities.

In 2017, Colin was elected as the Cornwall Councillor for Lostwithiel, overturning a huge Conservative majority to win from third place. Colin was re-elected in 2021 and is now the acting leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council. Colin has used this platform to campaign for higher pay for care workers, safety upgrades to the A38, abolition of the Tamar Tolls, and above all, bold and sustained action to tackle the climate emergency.

Reform UK – Paul Wadley

Paul Wadley
Paul Wadley (Paul Wadley)

The former magistrate, who ran a large neighbourhood watch scheme and was involved in two charities for the homeless, said: “I am a parish councillor with St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council where I sit on two committees: planning and human resources.

“From all those experiences I appreciate the issues that are important to residents. I take my role as a public servant seriously. I value honesty, respect and integrity and respect that all people have a right to be heard. Good listening skills is one of my attributes, another is getting things done.”

Green Party – Martin Corney

Martin Corney
Martin Corney (Martin Corney)

A councillor for St Ive parish, Martin has been its vice-chair and chair. With a background in science, he previously worked as a computer programmer and at Devonport Royal Dockyard.

Martin cares deeply about the environment and about speeding the transition to a zero-carbon economy. Over the years, he has worked hard to improve life opportunities for local people in his part of Cornwall through several community projects, including a youth club, a food bank and a local food-growing project.

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St Austell and Newquay

Conservative – Steve Double

Steve Double
Steve Double (Steve Double)

Since Steve’s election in 2015 he has secured government backing and funding for the £87million new A30 link road to St Austell, and has worked with the government to increase NHS funding across Cornwall, with a real terms increase every year, including a mental health in-patient facility for young people, £1-million funding for Treliske’s A&E and £24-million for social care which will relieve pressure from delayed discharges from Treliske Hospital.

He says he has also secured nearly £50-million for capital funding and protecting vital services in Cornwall such as radiotherapy and renal transport services, money for a new women and children’s hospital at Treliske, and £450-million to upgrade NHS services in Cornwall.

Labour – Noah Law

Noah Law
Noah Law (Noah Law)

Noah is from Lostwithiel, went to school in the constituency at Fowey. Outside of his work as a dedicated campaigner across Cornwall, Noah works for a publicly-owned investment fund for developing countries and has been responsible for investments in a range of sectors including agriculture, forestry, renewables and industrial projects.

Noah’s priorities for St Austell and Newquay are prosperity and jobs in our most promising industries, decent homes for local people, revitalised town centres, public infrastructure and services.

Liberal Democrats – Joanna Kenny

Joanna Kenny
Joanna Kenny (Joanna Kenny)

“In 2000, I retired early to come home to Newquay when I was needed to be a full-time carer for my mother. It was from that time I first became involved in local politics; my love of my local beach Fistral causing me to organise and win a campaign to ensure that we had proper swimming areas for bathers. From there it was a natural progression to join the Liberal Democrats, being honoured to be elected the Mayor of Newquay in 2005.

“In the Newquay community I was a magistrate for 15 years and served on many charity committees. I have served at all levels of local government, being a founder member of Cornwall Council in 2009, and as part of the Lib Dem/Independent administrations that ran the council for 2013 to 2021.”

Reform UK – Stephen Beal

Stephen Beal
Stephen Beal (Stephen Beal)

Born in 1970 in Scotland, Stephen has called Cornwall home for over two decades, immersing himself in its rich culture and diverse communities. With over 25 years of experience as a general manager at a prominent holiday park in Cornwall, Stephen brings a wealth of leadership and management expertise to the table.

Beyond his professional endeavours, Stephen is a passionate advocate for positive change. As a spokesperson for the Reform Party in the Newquay and St Austell region, he tirelessly champions the values of transparency, accountability and fairness.

Green Party – Amanda Pennington

Amanda Pennington
Amanda Pennington (Amanda Pennington)

Amanda served as a town councillor in Wadebridge from 2011 to 2021, when she became Mayor of Wadebridge until 2023. She has played a big part in many projects that have improved life in her community, including the building of a skate park for young people and the town council’s takeover of the local library service.

In 2022, she led a successful campaign to save Wadebridge Leisure Centre from closure, transferring it from private management to a Community Interest Company (CIC) run for the benefit of local people.

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Truro and Falmouth

Conservative – Cherilyn Mackrory

Cherilyn Mackrory
Cherilyn Mackrory (Cherilyn Mackrory)

Since Cherilyn’s election in 2019, she and her team have responded to more than 38,000 pieces of correspondence and secured over £500-million in investment for the Truro and Falmouth constituency. In Parliament, Cherilyn is involved in several All-Party Parliamentary Groups, including Local Democracy, Ocean Conservation, Celtic Sea and the Great South West, placing Truro and Falmouth at the heart of national policy discussions.

Cherilyn says she has made significant progress on key infrastructure projects – including the duelling of the A30 is progressing well, work to progress the new Women and Children’s Hospital, £23.6-million for the Truro Towns Deal and £50-million of Levelling Up funding for the Mid-Cornwall Metro from Falmouth, via Truro to Newquay. In addition, Cherilyn has also secured a new secondary school for Perranporth, covering the Perranporth, St Agnes and St Newlyn East areas.

Labour – Jayne Kirkham

Jayne Kirkham
Jayne Kirkham (Jayne Kirkham)

“As a single parent in Cornwall I put my legal skills to use at Cornwall Citizens Advice and then worked as a teaching assistant at Falmouth Secondary School for seven years while my son was in school.

“I stood for Parliament for the first time in Truro and Falmouth in 2017 when we tripled the Labour vote here and made it a Conservative/Labour marginal constituency. I am now Labour group leader on Cornwall Council and also sit on Falmouth Town Council. Notable successes include proposing and pushing through Cornwall Council’s climate emergency declaration, forcing a budget amendment to provide £3.5-million for mental healthcare for our young people in schools and shaping and campaigning on housing policy, which is such a vital issue in Cornwall.”

Liberal Democrats – Ruth Gripper

Ruth Gripper
Ruth Gripper (Ruth Gripper)

Inspired by the example of great Cornish Liberal MPs before her, she is determined to be a voice for Cornwall in Westminster, rather than a voice for Westminster in Cornwall. Ruth has had a successful career in the charity sector, which has given her insight into many different social issues and the vital support that charities provide.

Ruth, who grew up in Perranwell Station and now lives in Falmouth, said: “When I’m out talking to people on their doorsteps, they often mention David Penhaligon and Matthew Taylor. They remember them as people who were on their side, who worked hard to represent the community and get things done. A good MP can really make a difference. That’s what we need, and that’s why I’m standing to represent people in Truro and Falmouth.”

Reform UK – Steven Rubidge

Has been contacted for comment and photograph.

Green Party – Karen La Borde

Karen La Borde
Karen La Borde (Karen La Borde)

Karen is a former businesswoman who has served on Truro City Council since 2022, having previously been a parish councillor for several years. In both these roles, she’s worked hard to make a difference to the community by improving local facilities and fighting for the best possible deal for residents.

Passionate about the environment, Karen takes a particular interest in planning issues, and has fought to save green spaces from being overrun by developer-driven projects that fail to deliver affordable housing for local people. She was central to the campaign to get Cornwall Council to declare a climate emergency and now aims to play a full part in making sure that the transition to a zero-carbon economy happens as quickly as possible.

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Camborne and Redruth

Conservative – Connor Donnithorne

Connor Donnithorne
Connor Donnithorne (Connor Donnithorne)

With current Conservative MP George Eustice standing down at the next election, Connor Donnithorne hopes to replace him. Born and raised in the area, Connor and his family opened their first shop in Porthtowan in March 2020 and a second in Wadebridge in July 2022, which he now runs.

He said: “In 2021, I was proud to be elected as the Cornwall Councillor for Redruth Central, Carharrack and St Day. I secured a 35 per cent vote swing, the highest in Cornwall, to be the first Conservative ever elected in this division. I am standing to be the fresh, local voice our communities need – both here and in Parliament.”

Labour – Perran Moon

Perran Moon
Perran Moon (Perran Moon)

“I was born in Redruth and first went to Trewirgie School. My mum was an NHS nurse and my dad, Dr Charles Moon, was a GP in Camborne and Redruth for over 40 years.

“I am passionate about ensuring that, once again, Camborne, Redruth and Hayle becomes a fantastic place to be raised, work, bring up a family and retire. The Labour Party has a plan to restart our economy, create high skilled, sustainable jobs, build truly affordable housing, clean up our rivers and seas, deal with crime and anti-social behaviour and fix our NHS and social care services.”

Liberal Democrats – Thalia Marrington

Thalia Marrington
Thalia Marrington (Thalia Marrington)

Cornwall Councillor Thalia Marrington said: “I’m proud to have been selected by my party to help fight for change here in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle. The cost of living crisis is having a devastating effect on people’s lives and on local businesses. The Lib Dems want an economy that works for everyone, where local people can afford a secure place to live, and public services are rebuilt after years of neglect.”

Thalia won election to Cornwall Council in 2021, with a victory in a “safe” Conservative seat. She has has taken a lead in campaigning to tackle violence against women and girls. Before becoming a councillor, Thalia worked in education and as a professional musician, and her two teenage children were born and brought up in Cornwall.

Reform UK – Roger Tarrant

Roger Tarrant
Roger Tarrant (Roger Tarrant)

“I am married with two sons, a proud Cornishman born in Redruth and from a long line of Cornish farmers.

“Many of my teenage years were spent practising karate at Carn Brea Leisure Centre. I am a small business owner and for six years ran a business in Perranporth. I have a first class degree in politics and was previously SW Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses.”

Green Party – Catherine Hayes

Catherine Hayes
Catherine Hayes (Catherine Hayes)

A town councillor in Hayle, Catherine is co-founder of the campaigning group First NOT Second Homes and is highly active in her local community, supporting people facing food and energy poverty. She’s well known throughout Cornwall as a tireless campaigner for affordable housing.

Catherine recently worked to set up a local food distribution project to help people who can’t afford to feed themselves and their families. She also understands the concerns of local businesses, having run one of her own, Cath’s Cornish Kitchen, producing home-made food made with local ingredients.

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St Ives

Conservative – Derek Thomas

Derek Thomas
Derek Thomas (Derek Thomas)

Derek Thomas was first elected as the MP for the constituency of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives) in the 2015 General Election, becoming the first Conservative MP for the area since 1997. He was re-elected as MP in 2019 with an increased majority.

During his time in parliament Derek has worked hard on behalf of the people of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly frequently putting forward debates such as bank holidays in 2020, the National Trust, World Health: 25-Year Environment Plan, marriage in government policy, taxes on small business, community pharmacies, fuel poverty and food security.

Labour – Dr Filson Ali

Dr Filson Ali
Dr Filson Ali (Dr Filson Ali)

Being born in the Southwest of England, I’ve always had a deep connection with Cornwall.

With over a decade as a doctor in local hospitals and the community. I'm committed to tackling health inequalities and mental health issues within Cornwall. Quality care should be accessible to all, regardless of background.

As a practicing GP in an underserved community, I'm deeply engaged in addressing the healthcare needs of our most vulnerable populations.

During my studies, I joined the Navy, where I experienced a transformative and fulfilling period of service. More recently, I volunteered to accompany four war veterans and their families to France's Normandy, providing medical and emotional support.

Liberal Democrats – Andrew George

Andrew George
Andrew George (Andrew George)

Andrew George is a renowned local and national campaigner. He was the Liberal Democrat MP for the West Cornwall and Scilly constituency of St Ives 1997-2015 and nearly won the seat back in June 2017 and in December 2019. He said he’s “not walking away”.

Andrew is chief executive of affordable housing charity Cornwall Community Land Trust and runs other research and campaign projects with the support of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and others. Since 2006 he has been the chair of the British Association for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Reform UK – Giane Mortimer

Has been contacted for comment and photograph.

Green Party – Ian Flindall

Ian Flindall
Ian Flindall (www.simonburtphotography.com)

Ian runs a small family farm near Morvah, producing quality food for the local market in ways that promote high standards of animal welfare as well as conserving and enhancing natural habitats and biodiversity. Before becoming a farmer, Ian worked in the energy world and was responsible for several major energy conservation projects for local councils and the Ministry of Defence.

Having seen the energy bills for his farm more than double recently, he is keenly aware of the need to roll out renewables much more rapidly to keep bills down at the same time as cutting carbon emissions and strengthening the UK’s energy security, and he’s had a hands-on role in installing dozens of small wind-turbines in Cornwall.